March 2013

Yesterday at Bev’s I opened the back door and saw Charlie, her cat, with a big bird in his gob. I assumed it was a pigeon but a slightly closer look showed it to be a hawk! A sparrowhawk. I had heard a plaintive cry a bit before, and that was a sparrowhawk, probably crying out for its mate.

Sparrowhawks are efficient hunters of small birds, but so is Charlie but some small birds will live longer because he hunted a hunter.

My 92 year old mother rang to tell me she had just discovered that she could put eggnog (aka. advocaat ≈17.5% alcohol) in her coffee. She was feeling warm and lively! I had bought it for myself for Christmas and she reckoned it was not going to take long for her to finish the bottle.

I have been slowly laying mdf floorboarding down in Bev’s loft. I had to start by making work space by cutting each board to fit the unevenly spaced joists, but now I want to butt join the boards which will be supported either side, between the joists (thus saving about a quarter of every board).

I cannot find double ended nails that I can lay my hands on, and I doubt that I could drill exactly positioned and perfectly perpendicular holes for rowels, so double mortise and separate biscuit(?) tenons seem the best bet. As long as I can cut the mortise hole well enough I can make them over long, lay the first board, glue the tenons and put the next board in straight away, and know that the tenons can move as I hammer the board home to the already laid ones at the end and side.

Sorry about the long winded intro. but you need to know the job before I explain why the Dremel 4000 – 50 is so shit.

The Dremel 4000 is a ‘rotary power tool’, which means it is a small sized electric drill, albeit with a lot of power for the size. It claims to do many things and cost a bit under £100 and came/comes with 50 accessories. I needed sometime to take a small amount of wood off the edges of a frame. I spent a long time checking the reviews and reading the specs before buying.


The literature, listings and on-line support is utterly abysmal. It is impossible to know what the things inside the box will, and will not do, until you try it. It tells you some of the things you can do with it, but there is no list of possible jobs on the box, on-line, or in the manual and you have to cross reference the list of included accessories that only appears on the box (not on-line) with a separate, vast, full accessory list to find out what things do; and if you do not have the box (like me now) you cannot even be sure you have not lost something.


It sold with nothing to cut or shape wood with! It has general ‘cutting’ blades but they are basically made of very hard sandpaper which will set fire to your wood and wear out. I did use it to cut metal plaster beading to make a pylon shaped picture frame with, but had to finish that job with a hacksaw when all the discs wore out.

That means I could cut mortises with it if I bought a cutting bit for £7, especially if I bought the £25 router kit to go with it; but Wickes are selling a proper router for only £37 which will do what it says on the box, instead of promising to change my world in many unspecified workshop ways.

Straight out of the box the Dremel 4000 – 50 is good for engraving, polishing and sharpening. It is useless for any kind of wood working without buying extra bits, and while it will cut metal with the toughest blades, it will not cut much before you have to buy a new blade.

I have just posted a list on the main Curry & Kipling Night shows of the show’s blog page.

The ‘Conquer Your Shyness’ programme may be working. I have just been talking to John, Neil and Don in the Black Bull, Baildon, and learning loads; though, to be fair, two of them were also N’t frem roond h’ere. , like me; so it was probably like calling to like in a crowded pub.

Neal started it by asking me about the beers on sale when they came in; and beer is something I will sometimes offer an opinion on (when I worked in a real ale cocktail bar, called Dick’s Bar in Crouch End, in 1982, I was told off by the landlady for giving my opinion about the beer, good and bad, when I was asked. Honesty has got me to where I am now. Poor, but touching happy more often than I would have guessed).

Like Neal said: It’s great when you get random! You learn so much.

Earlier I had discovered that Bev’s bedroom was colder than mine(!!!?) because the window was fitted shite, and there was a wind filled hole almost all the way around it.

I am glad to say I have filled Bev’s bedroom crack, and fed and stroked her pussy, so I reckon I deserved the beer.

PS. I do not think I have put my facebook link thing on here before. If I remember I will look at this and see if it goes anywhere.

As friendship, love, and unity,
Compose the bond of peace,
In them may our community
Join hands and thus increase.

Part of a 1825 pamphlet/flyer entitled:

On THURSDAY, February 3rd, 1825,

From an illustration in: The Journal of DR.JOHN SIMPSON OF BRADFORD 1825, Bradford Libraries, 1981. The spelling, line make-up, and cases are an exact copy.

One of the things I found when clearing the small room was the cache of Bradford history books I was desperate for when planning the Bring Back St Blaise’s Festival.

The main find was The Journal of DR.JOHN SIMPSON OF BRADFORD 1825, Bradford Libraries, 1981. He only wrote from 1st January to 22nd July of that year, but that included much on the way Bradford was already changing massively:

Thirty years ago Bradford was a very inconsiderable place, little better than a large village and completely surrounded by woods so as to be almost entirely concealed. Now you have some difficulty finding a good tree & what were then fields are now populous streets.

The vital thing to me in the journal is the fact Simpson also gives a first hand account of the last big St Blaise Day parade and celebration, and it is not quoted in any of the Bradford history books I have read. Fieldhouse’s history quotes a first hand account from a source he does not name (like all his sources) but it is not the same. I suspect he was lazy and unprofessional and rewrote Simpson to better fit his book; but I may be doing Fieldhouse disservice, as the event was widely reported before being almost forgotten.

The book also has an illustration of a flyer for the event. I may scan and post it in the future, but will copy out part of the ballads it contained next post.

I have been at my own house, deperately trying to get to the top of stuff.

I have finally got around to clearing the small room that suffered when my roof leaked. I had already thrown out the most damaged of the books and stuff but there was still enough mold to get me dry sneezing.

The main job was taking apart the raised single ‘bunk’ bed to give to Bev (she’s taking it with her when she moves). I cannot remember putting it up, but guess I must have had help, because it was a right bastard to get down. The hardest physical work I have done since carrying 20kg of loft boarding from Bev’s road to her loft. Things were not helped by the fact that the furniture, I put in after the bed, made getting to the bolts very difficult; or the fact my house is nowt but rat runs until I get rid of stuff and get some order back.

Anyway, I took it down to the main frames, which are awkward and heavy, and got the lot downstairs ready for my mate Roger to come round today to give me and the bed a lift; then it snowed. At times it is actually falling and melting at the same time, but falling is still winning. We cancelled the run. The chance of injury carrying the frames is almost 100% in this snow.

That means that while there is less in the small room my front room looks like a skip, I have barely room to get out of the front door, but not to worry, I will instinctively learn to do it soon enough, like I can instinctively get to the lavvy in the dark without stepping, or bumping, on anything.

I am cat sitting for Bev. It is a warm house, with a cat! And a telly. I am watching a documentary about Graham Parker (and the Rumour). I saw him supporting Bob Dylan at Blackbushe 1978. I took my cousin Sirpa and met with Tony Bailey and Hugh Herzig (who I am still all still in touch with, but not as well as I would like). I hit a lass on the back of the head with a can when she got up, but as night follows day I got up for Graham Parker and got a can smack on the back of my head. The lack of lavatories where a big feature, esecially for Sirpa. She is a teacher now, married to a headmaster who spends his weekends helping the Finnish Army make sure they are as welcoming to the Russians if they want to visit en masse, as Finland was in 1940.

I wrote the below for a production of J.B.Priestley’s When We Are Married I produced as a fund raiser at the (then) Priestley Centre for the Arts (aka. Bradford Playhouse) after the last time it burnt down. It was sung by the cast at the end, to a Victorian ballad style tune I came up with, but could not write down.

Our love will rise, like a phoenix from the ashes.
Our love will rise, like an ever spreading tree.
Our love will rise, like the smoothest running sashes.
If you will join, my love, with me.

Let us blow on the embers of our passion.
We’ll fan the flames of the thing we used to be.
and cast a glow from love blazing, in a fashion.
If you will join, my love, with me.

Our love will rise, like a phoenix from the ashes.
Our love will rise, like an ever spreading tree.
Our love will rise, like the smoothest running sashes.
If you will join, my love, with me.

Next Page »